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  1.    #1  
    Hey guys,

    Not much in the way of significant palm news, webOS news, or hardware for us now...perhaps never. *I'm really hoping for a successful re-launch of "webOS- Open Source Edition."

    As I sit here today, looking at my beautiful (but cranky at times) pre2 running a beautiful OS, with an outstanding form factor and feel (atleast in my opinion)...and I look at the flood of black slabs on the market running android, windows phone, look at the behemoth that is iOS, and see blackberry sputtering along...I still cannot to this day understand how Palm blew such a great OS. *We all know it fell apart, we all know some of the major missteps, the lack of carrier support, the lack of interest by the consumer market and developers...he said, she doesn't the end it all fell apart.

    But I often imagine myself as the CEO of palm, circa Jan 2009. There's this hot new OS, with lots of potential, in a company with a lot of engineering talent belonging to a company that some can argue created the mobile pda/smartphone market. *There's alot of market pressure to come with something new and there's this hot new OS called iphone OS that's taking the market by storm. My company also makes devices with two other OS's- windows mobile 6.1 and palmOS.*

    This gets me thinking, if you could turn back time, circa Jan 2009, what decisions would YOU have made if you were ceo to make this hot new phone concept and OS a success.

    Please keep in mind, this thread is only intended to see how you woulda started webOS...please refrain from criticism.

  2. cgk
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    Give the consumers want they wanted - a Slab phone - forget the cheesy slider phone.
  3. #3  
    Give the consumers want they wanted - a Slab phone - forget the cheesy slider phone.
    No, give the two options... but sell worldwide!! All big problems solved...

    Best Regards...
    "If A Man Isn't Willing To Take Some Risk For His Opinions, Either His Opinions Are No Good Or He's No Good!" - Ezra Pound (Poet & Critic)
    (Happy A Lot, As A Good Carioca!)
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by CGK View Post
    Give the consumers want they wanted - a Slab phone - forget the cheesy slider phone.
    This argument is getting old. Some of Nokia's most popular phones in 2009 were the vertical slider ones (go ahead, look it up).

    The fact is, the form factor doesn't matter. Several other aspects are more important.
    Game over!
  5. T-Pad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenHex View Post
    The fact is, the form factor doesn't matter. Several other aspects are more important.
    There are other important aspects, but Palm didn't offer choice. If you look at what type of phones have been offered in the mobile phone market since 2009 - how many pre-style models will you find? I think that slider phones are a niche market. I'm the only one in my circle of friends (and all the people I know personally) who is using one (well, I have convinced my brother and my brother-in-law to use a Veer).

    I would change to a webOS phone having an iPhone-like form factor as soon as one is available. Typing with an on-screen keyboard is much faster than using a hardware keyboard (like on the Preł I own) - at least for me.
    Preł (iPhone 4), TouchPad 32 GB (PlayBook 16 GB)
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by T-Pad View Post
    I'm the only one in my circle of friends (and all the people I know personally) who is using one (well, I have convinced my brother and my brother-in-law to use a Veer).
    Since you mention "others", let me just mention that some of them played with my Pre 2 and Veer and said, in summary, "everything aside, these guys (at Palm/ and later HP) really know how to get the perfect form factor, "they know how to design a phone". " These are persons who are Androphiles, if there is such a word.
    Game over!
  7. #7  
    If I had assumed the role of CEO, I would see the the core - webOS - was strong and able to improve over time. The weak points to address would be the hardware and the marketing. For marketing, I would fire the existing team and go with a new group that can present the features of Synergy, true multitasking, and the ease of use of the UI.

    For hardware, I would want a R&D team to work on two things - improve the quality of the components used to make the devices (phone, tablet, and other mobile devices - car audio / info systems, watches, glasswear, etc.). I would also want to make sure that webOS will run optimally while trying to maintain a common API to allow apps to run on nearly any device.

    For existing hardware, I would offer several phones... with and without a physical keyboard. I would have a basic entry level (like the Veer), a mid range level (Pre 2 and one with no physical keyboard), and a high end level (Pre 3 - with and without keyboard, higher display, leading edge tech). I would also look into the HDTV market to offer a webOS enabled set to handle tv operation, and full access to all apps using a remote touchpad that will also light up keys for keyboard use. For tablets, I would offer 3 sizes: small (6"), medium (8"), and large (10").

    I would want the devices to not be tied to one existing cellular service. I doubt Palm could work a deal to get the devices on all networks (see how long it took Apple to do that), but would set up the hardware so that it could be released on multiple networks. Give the consumer the option to get the product to work on whatever service they prefer. At least offer a GSM and a CDMA version of the devices. If they can be combined without sacrifice to size and performance, that would make things cost effective for manufacturing.

    Finally, I would focus on the manufacturing and distribution process. Palm was nowhere near the size of Apple, Sony, or the other mobile manufacturers, but we would need to find locations where there was a higher level of quality control spent on the manufacturing process and able to produce at a faster pace to meet consumer demands. Idealy, I would like to see if it could be done all within the US (with a stamp on the back that says "Made in the U.S.A."). I know labor rates are cheap in other countries, but we're also seeing from news reports on the quality of life for the employees (or lack thereof). I feel that if the people making a product has a good working environment, then the quality of the product made will be reflected.

    All of this... while maintaining or setting a price point meets and exceeds the competition.

    On second thought.... that's a lot of tough goals to acheive... for any CEO. I'll be the venture capitalist that feeds these ideas and let the CEO figure out how to make it happen.
    C-Note likes this.
  8. #8  
    Hindsight is always perfect and it's difficult to not let what we know happened color our perception of what we would have done. We must remember Palm was a company in 2009 that had been on a long trek through the desert and had significant resource issues. With that in mind, I probably would have done the following:

    1. Identify a core feature (or set of features) around which to make my pitch to consumers. This sounds like a marketing thing, but it is really something that goes all the way back to product design. To grab a strong core following that reaches a critical mass in terms of numbers, which is what webOS has needed for years, you're going to have to identify something your platform does better than anybody else. This focus must inform your design of features for your product that create product attributes which benefit your customers and then your marketing and advertising strategy must sell your customers on those benefits.

    Given Palm's legacy (and admittedly my own personal biases), I probably would have focused this around productivity. Honestly, webOS hit a solid double, or maybe even a triple, with this, but it did not hit a homerun. I would have pushed for webOS to handle contacts, calendar, tasks, email and notes exceptionally well, more than better than anything out there, or on the horizon. For all the above, I would have pushed for cloud based aggregation and updating. I might also have launched with an updated Palm Desktop that brought my Palm Profile and these core PIM functions to my desktop. I'd probably also launch with addins for Outlook and i-whatever (I honestly don't know if Apple allows addins for its PIM products, but if they do I would probably have launched with them). It's not about the features it's about Palm enabling me to stay on top of my life and my business. My marketing strategy would have focused on this.

    2. While it's probably somewhat overstated, the hardware needed a bit more thought. It may actually have had too much thought in terms of form and not enough in terms of function. The rounded feel was nice and something I really wish other phones did. The screen should have been bigger and a bit better resolution. Given Palm loyalists loved their physical keyboards, I would have probably gone with the slider, but it needed to be rock solid. While an attractive form is necessary, when I had to make a choice between form and function, I would have gone with function. Unfortunately, it seems too often form won out over function.

    3. Again, given Palm's legacy, I probably would have gone with quality over quantity in terms of app selection, but you still need some quantity. So, I would have pushed and prodded and otherwise reached out to developers to launch with at least 1000 high quality apps in the app catalog. At the time, Palm still was a solid brand, so you probably could have achieved that. I absolutely would not have gotten into the stupid back-and-forth with Apple over the itunes sync thing.

    4. I would have pushed for much better execution. The 6 month delay from announcement to launch was too long. Even if it meant delaying the announcement, I would have launched the phone within 2 months of announcing it. I would also have pushed for less than a 6 month exclusive contract with Sprint (3 months at most). Also, I would have worked to either get the phone out way ahead of the Droid launch, or well after it. It needed some breathing room for itself.

    That's what I can think of right now. Time to get back to work.

  9. #9  
    I think if i was CEO you'd probably see very different products and i think the focus would be different because i have different priorities. Generally i'd focus on delivering consumer media. Not recreating a business pda. So music, video, texting camera would be very high. I wouldn't ignore business. As robust email and providing adequate security features would be a must but it would not be my first priority. But generally, i'd look at what all the comp did well and steal it all. And i'd look at all they do bad and i'd try and solve it. example, I love that every IOS menu looks glossy, and rendered and like a light is shining on it. Even most standard icons in ios are made to look like there's a reflection. I love that. I'd steal that. But i hate that the app store is pretty poorly organized and you can't browse easily. That's a flaw, i'd try and make ours easier to browse or sort.

    • I would NOT make hardware. Palm would have largely become a software company like Microsoft or Google.
    • licensed webos to get it on as many platforms as possible. (a virtual keyboard from the outset.)
    • first phone i'd license to would be a slab period, then a horizontal slider after that the can makers can make what they want. That said i'd seriously consider NOT release a version for physical keyboards. I don't care about them and i may be able to save time. That said if manufacturers want to make them i'd consider it and it might not be much work. Plus this way you get other form factors you didn't with palm.
    • bottom line you'd never see a phone that looked like a pre or a pixi or a veer form factorwise and if that meant i didn't get the current pre lovers or old Treo people i wouldn't care.
    • There's a chance i'd change the name. Palm isn't special to me and i think it's old.
    • No legacy support for anything. i'm going forward i have zero interest in going back to the past. And again, i'd be willing to lose that small group of old platform users.

    • Getting mainstream apps. I don't really care about the little apps. I care about the big names.
    • Focus of the software would have been media. I'd have put first a mp3 player that does everything an ipod touch does and just as good. (in terms of layout and features every single feature on an ipod touch would be mandatory and that's just the beginning. plus more support for more video and audio codecs)
    • Itunes equivalent for syncing all media.
    • I don't know how these things work but i wouldn't release a product that wasn't snappy and as responsive as the competition. I hate waiting after i put my finger on anything. there would be zero tolerance for that.
    • Full featured camera app. much more then
    • I'd probably have fired John Rubinstein and his mom jeans and he surely wouldn't have been the face of my company. He strikes me as dorky and i can't have that as my company face. Also i don't know if i need a hardware guy since we wouldn't be making any. I'd find a place for him though if i thought he could benefit in another area or if his knowledge had some use.
    • voice control
    • wifi sync
    • i'd have made a navigation app.
    • and if i couldn't get a big mainstream app i'd make it like they did with facebook. I'd have tried to make a netflix app.

    Generally those are where my priorities would lye. Like touch to share never ever would have been that high on my priorites because i've almost never said, "oh if only i could show this website on desktop on my phone right now." If i'm on my desktop it's there, it's a bigger screen, it's where i want it to be. NFC is fine for electronic payments but the touch to share is not a big seller and i'd attract more people putting time into making other features. Side note if i ever decided to make hardware i'd hire some stylish and visionary engineers. But again we'd likely be a strictly software company.

    I'd have worked with the philosophy that a nice user interface is NOT enough.

    Generally, i would not have don
    Last edited by SnotBoogie; 02/15/2012 at 08:01 PM.
    You come at the king. You best not miss.
  10. #10  
    Short and sweet:

    (1) The fragile nature of the original Pre was a huge problem. As CEO I would have insisted on better build quality before launch.

    (2) At launch, webOS was not optimized to take full advantage of the CPU/GPU in the Pre. Performance should have been much better and snappier.

    (3) The built-in core PIM apps were inferior in every way when compared with their ancestors in Garnet. Not only was some previous functionality missing, but methods of input were less efficient. (I'm staring at you with extreme prejudice, webOS Calendar.) As CEO, I would have fired the development staff responsible for "improving" the core PIM apps.

    (4) I always thought that webOS needed a lock-screen agenda view option, similar to the one on the Centro. I would have pushed hard for that.

    (5) Releasing the Pre as a Sprint exclusive was crazy. Perhaps there truly was no other way, but if I had to pick the most damaging factor that prevented webOS from reaching its potential, that would be it.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Powered by Palm since 1996...
    Palm Pilot > Palm V > Tungsten T > Trēo 650 > Centro > Prē > Prē F102

    ...gave up and switched to iPhone4 7/15/10
    Preemptive likes this.
  11. #11  
    Jan '09 was already too late. There was no $$ to do anything, so how would all those magical devices have seen the light of day?

    You'd have to go back to 2005/6 when the company was stagnant but had some Treo/Centro $$ lying around. At that point, you'd replace the old guard, then inspire new visions and take it from there. The ingredients that created the successful Palm would have all been there: (micro)SD, ir, full-function PIM, full networking/BT stacks, etc. Full-screen Palm OS emulation would be a must so you'd hit the ground running w/ over 50,000 apps. It would be crippled somewhat (comm stack?), so as to encourage development for the new platform. The enterprise and geeks would be targeted at the high end and everyone else at the mid and low end. Resources would be put into the supporting ecosystem (SDK, app/music/movie/book stores, etc) as well as ensuring interoperability and content ubiquity models.

    That would be the point to begin; with complete products, services and systems. Its success would determine what follows.
  12. #12  

    Better hardware, regular updates, and better marketing.

    Most everything else mentioned above by all was important, but NONE of the other big players had all their pieces in place at the launch of their platforms. But what they did have was:

    1) Solid hardware. There were THOUSANDS of stories of people who after 3 or more phones just gave up and went elsewhere. (Any store reps who care to chime in with their tales of woe, jump in here)

    2) Regular software updates - remember when it seemed like every month or two, there was a release of an update. Problem was, it was a 50/50 chance the update would break something else. Anybody over there ever heard of the concept of "continuous improvement" This lack caused even more customers to bleed off, and an angry customer is like cyanide to a company trying to build a brand (See #1)

    3) Marketing, not just advertising, but marketing. Some have suggested that the focus should not have been on business, but that is not true. In 2009 that was a largely untapped market - RIM was in the space, but even then there was a clamor for a business type smartphone. This is where they could have leveraged the Palm DNA if they had rolled out a credible product with the basic function (Calendar, e-mail, contacts, tasks) nailed. Marketing would include presenting to target customer with the features that will make them WANT your phone.

    There was no real chance of touching the huge advantage Apple had with the iTunes store without spending TONS of money. Unless you strategy was to shamelessly have your device imitate the USB ID of a iPhone so you could mooch off of their ecosystem (oh wait... never mind I won't even go there.) Instead we bounced from the phone for hippies, to the phone for moms, to the phone for people who don't want an Apple phone, etc. None of those are solid reason for buying one brand over another.

    None of these would have been an "end all" to success, but it would have put them on a footing to succeed and bought them the room to have an Act II in 2010 where some of the points articulated in the previous posts above could have been enacted.
    "Sometimes I feel like an OS-less child..."
    (with apologies to Billie Holiday )
  13. #13  
    Some people are definitely forgetting that even by June, webOS wasn't ready for release.

    Releasing it immediately after January would have been impossible. Hindsight is great and all, but they were in very little of a position to do much differently by then.

    The only thing that really should have been addressed is the rumor from a few months back of all the hardware that they just couldn't meet deadlines for. Out of everything that happened with webOS, that's probably one of the few things that could have (and should have) been fixed. The rest was all making the best of a poor situation.
    p41m3r and SnotBoogie like this.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    Some people are definitely forgetting that even by June, webOS wasn't ready for release.

    Releasing it immediately after January would have been impossible. Hindsight is great and all, but they were in very little of a position to do much differently by then.

    The only thing that really should have been addressed is the rumor from a few months back of all the hardware that they just couldn't meet deadlines for. Out of everything that happened with webOS, that's probably one of the few things that could have (and should have) been fixed. The rest was all making the best of a poor situation.
    i approached the question as "what would you have done different if you were CEO." I kinda didn't pay much attention to the date of "Jan 2009." My approach probably would have just been quite a bit different. Different looking hardware and a focus probably much more on the social and media sided of the phone. Generally i agree with the idea that releasing software early doesn't make much sense if it's not pretty darn ready. Obviously the other side of that is in a market with a lot of competition one obviously can't wait forever to get products to market. I use my phone as a music player so for me it would have to have had tons of features to be released. i'd never have released it without gapless playback and those issues of sorting where it didn't ignore "A", "and", and "the" and others. But that's merely a function of the specific things that i want. others may think a more business focus or something is more important. Or another thing on the "social" front i was talking about. I needed a patch to put attachments in a text. That probably would have been a higher priority thing for me were i CEO. Anyone saying release that webos early would have ran into CEO Snotboogie going, "Not until we get attachment capability because people like to send crap by text." So for me releasing software wouldn't come at the expense of the feature i hold in high value. Those features though may just be different the many or most webos users.
    Last edited by SnotBoogie; 02/21/2012 at 05:14 PM.
    You come at the king. You best not miss.
  15. #15  
    I've been gone for some time.
    Browsing the forums, I came across this thread. Some really good points.
    It seems so obvious. - Now...
    Sure strange it wasn't obvious then.
    Just call me Berd.
  16. bimmin's Avatar
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    I wish Palm had more time and money around the time of the release of WebOS. I wish on initial release they released the Pre and Pixi at the same time on the major carriers and unlocked. I wish the initial phones were what came to be the Pre2 and Pixi+ (The Pre2 is how the original should of been and the original pixi with no wifi is silly). They could had done something nice for Sprint like include the Touchstone since Sprint and Palm have always worked together. Then one year later release the Touchpad and what came to be the Pre3. Then a year later updates to the first phones and maybe a new slab phone option. I wish they also had the money to give all new users something like $1-$5 credit to use in the app store. This would force people to enter their payment information to get a free app then afterwards it makes it easier for people to one touch buy apps.
    650p | 755p | Centro | Pre | Pixi | Pre 2 | Pre 3 | 2 Touchpads
  17. #17  
    If I was CEO, first and foremost I would have used all the carriers that sold the successful Centro (most all carriers) and launched with them.
  18. #18  
    Here's my go:

    1. Release one phone: The Pre. Focus on the flagship to start. If it has to be two, make the other a slab.

    2. Make the hardware solid - it doesn't have to be the fastest or the best as long as it works and doesn't break.

    3. Release with some form of PalmOS (Classic if you like) built in. Allow that to Hotsync via USB and to transfer data (one way is fine) from the core apps (calendar, tasks, contacts etc) to webOS - even if it's some clunky, 'via the cloud' system. This means that every palm user can buy the phone and if they want, USE IT JUST AS A PALMOS DEVICE. Instant user base, instant app catalogue. Eventually, they will all start using webOS because it's more modern, has the UX, etc, and because....

    4. All the core apps are as polished as the ones on palmOS, with added synergy!

    5. Leave it as open as it has been. The HB community will catch us when we stumble.

    6. Always offer the direct purchase of the unlocked handset from Palm.

    7. Commission versions of the top 10-20 apps on other platforms and maybe a couple of unique games or apps that show off the system.

    8. Offer to license the OS from the start and encourage efforts to port to other hardware. If 1-7 make for a good start, other manufacturers may come calling.

    9. As for carriers, I don't really know, but I'd either try to get it out to everyone or pick the suitor with the most customers rather than the biggest cash offer because if webOS doesn't make it, Palm's bankrupt anyway...
  19. patchiman's Avatar
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  20. #20  
    What would I do as CEO back in 2009? Don't know if there was a lot that could be done. trying to think back to 2009 in technology terms, you might as well try to think back to 1999. Things were totally different between 2009 and 2013.

    A lot of people today say palm was wasting their time with the real keyboard, that they should have just done a slab like apple. Remember though, back in 2009 a lot of people thought the virtual keyboard was up there with nuclear hand grenades and screen doors on subs. They vowed never to buy a phone without a real keyboard, so I think that having a real keyboard was probably a good idea.

    People point out that back in 2009 palm already had an OS, Palm OS, and they suggest palm should have stuck with that. Well, that's what Blackberry did, they are not too much better off today for it.

    Back in 2009 palm did have some big name support. If you look on the app catalog, you will notice a some games from EA. They had Pandora, which was pretty big back in 2009. They have amazon music.

    hardware quality was a bit of a problem, but if I recall correctly Palm did not have a lot of money to invest in building top notch hardware. One of the reasons they merged with HP was that HP had the money to build some top notch devices.

    ok so what would i have done different

    1) Given up on the itunes hack sooner: It was a cool gimmick. but once Apple started to counter it with itunes updates, it ceased being a reliable feature, and most people will not use something if it is unreliable. they should have just given up on it. people who really wanted it could have just stuck with the older iTunes version, and all those wasted dev hours would have been put to better use elsewhere.

    2) Co-opt Amazon: Why does the pre not have a kindle app, when the iphone does? As CEO as soon as I learned that amazon was making a kindle app for iphone but not for webos, I would have been banging on jeff bezoz' door and screaming ! You want to make apps for apple who wants to eat your lunch in music and books, but not for me?! There is no reason Palm devices did not have access to Amazon books, and movies as well as music. Sign whatever deal you have to to get that content. i would have made sure Amazon had no need to build a kindle fire.

    3) Shake down Google: Why is apple the only one who figured out that they could sue samsung, among others android phone makers, for millions and millions of dollars? If I am a CEO of a tech company that is short on cash, but has one of the most awesome patent portfolios of all time, i'd be knocking on everyone's door asking for money. It would have gone a long way toward filling the hole in company finances.
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